Houston Texans: Good, bad, and ugly in Brandin Cooks trade

The Houston Texans continue to wheel and deal ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has been a busy man since taking over the role of general manager. Texans are acquiring veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks from the Los Angeles Rams, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

Texans are giving up the lowest of their second-rounders in exchange for Cooks and Rams’ fourth-rounder in 2022. Addressing the wide receiver position isn’t a shocker after the Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, but it’s a rather surprising move that they decided to move in on Cooks.

The 2020 NFL Draft is regarded as a deep class in terms of wide receivers, but Houston is paying the premium for a proven player that can help the Texans offense now instead of a rookie receiver that will have to acclimate to the NFL level.

Cooks is joining his fourth team since being drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. This is the third time in his career being traded after the New England Patriots, and the Rams both traded for him in the past in exchange for a first-round draft pick. Cooks has been a reliable receiver that has dealt with his fair share of concussions that makes it a concern for Houston.

However, Cooks, 26, is still a very young talented receiver that offers a very different dynamic than Hopkins as another vertical threat. He will be under contract until 2023 and will have no money guaranteed after this upcoming season.

The Texans’ identity is shifting in the passing game with receivers that can threaten defenders with their speed. Cooks isn’t in the elite tier that Hopkins is in, but he has been a productive receiver for his former quarterbacks and has gone for over 1,000 yards in four of the six seasons in the league.

His role in Houston could be similar to the one he had in his time in New England as a deep threat. He averaged a career-high 16.6 yards per reception, caught seven touchdown receptions, and accrued 1,082 yards in his lone season with the Patriots.

The Texans may have paid a steep price for Cooks, but another important aspect of the trade is that Deshaun Watson will have a loaded group of targets to move the chains on offense. The Texans will be moving forward with Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, and Cooks as their top four receivers in the offense for this upcoming season.